It’s the case of the crumbling kitchen. But if you’re not Nancy Drew, what can you do? You call the experts at Jos. Chapdelaine and Sons, Inc., a third-generation, family-owned design/build firm that’s been serving Western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut for nearly a century.

Joseph Chapdelaine left his native Canada for Massachusetts in 1924 and began a fruitful career as a carpenter and then a home builder. He was followed in the field by four sons, Gerard, Roland, Roger, and Robert; sisters Yvette and Lucille balanced the books. Third-generation builders and brothers David Chapdelaine and Roger L. “RJ” Chapdelaine, Jr., picked up the mantle in the early aughts and managed the East Longmeadow-based business, which specializes in kitchen and bathroom remodeling, home additions, and custom builds, conjointly until David’s retirement in 2016. Today, owner/president RJ Chapdelaine runs the company with his sons, Hunter, a project manager, and Tanner, a finish carpenter, by his side.

The longevity of family businesses is not just important to their owners but also to the economy. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, family businesses—companies in which two or more family members exercise control, concurrently or sequentially—represent about 90 percent of American businesses.“When my brother and I started in the 1980s, the success rate for third-generation businesses was 10%; today, for fourth-generation businesses, it’s 3%,” said Chapdelaine, who started framing houses when he was 12. “Our longevity speaks to [our clients’] comfort levels.” There’s also comfort in familiarity. Project Manager Gary Miller has worked for Chapdelaine Builders for more than 40 years, first as a framer then as a finish carpenter and a cabinet installer; he’s been a project manager for almost 20 years.

At Chapdelaine and Sons — and its remodeling division Kitchens by Chapdelaine — it’s always been about building trust and relationships rather than just walls and windows, which is why the Chapdelaine name is synonymous with quality and integrity. The building process revolves around the client, their wants and needs, and their budget. “We take a team approach,” Chapdelaine said. “We try to come up with a budgeting number for the client. Once we’re there, it puts them in a position to make a decision. From that decision, we can move on to design.” Those design services include a complimentary in-home consultation, space planning, computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, and 3-D modeling. From there, it becomes a balancing act, a delicate dance between form and function. “When you design a home, you have to massage the size and the level of finish to achieve what you want and how you want your house to feel,” Chapdelaine said. “Footage takes away from finish.” As a design/build firm, all projects are managed in-house.

The construction industry is highly susceptible to economic fluctuations, requiring builders to ride the ebb and flow. Single-family home building slowed across the country during the second quarter of 2023, thanks to higher mortgage rates, and labor and supply shortages. But Chapdelaine remains optimistic — housing starts spiked in November to a six-month high — and busy. With the rise in interest rates, people are renovating instead of upsizing to bigger homes, he said, expanding kitchens and upgrading appliances with the plan to stay in their homes indefinitely.“More and more people want to age in place,” Chapdelaine said. “They love where they live, so they say, ‘Let’s make the place we love even better.’” With multi-generational living becoming more commonplace, in-law suites are growing in popularity, he added. “We’re doing a lot with separated but united spaces,” Chapdelaine said.

COVID-19 focused attention on our homes as never before, lifting the US remodeling market to an unprecedented $567 billion in 2022, according to a report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. But the impacts of the pandemic on the building industry were crushing, including staggering lead times, endless labor shortages, and surging material prices. “We’re getting back into our sweet spot,” Chapdelaine said. “Our time frames are getting tighter.”

To create the best kitchen for you and your family, a small-scale remodel or a full-on renovation may be in order. And since the kitchen is the most challenging — and expensive — room to tackle, you’ll want to make sure you get all the components right from the get-go. “Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly fix or are ready to take your kitchen down to the studs for a full gut job, remodeling a kitchen is full of possibilities,” Chapdelaine said.

Although rumors of the demise of the all-white kitchen have been greatly exaggerated, they’re no longer dominating the interior design scene. “We’re seeing a lot more color,” Chapdelaine said. Whether it’s custom cabinetry or designing a complete living space, design experts agree that neutral tones paired with strong colors, like deep greens, rich reds, and blues, will continue to be a go-to color scheme. “Wood is making a comeback, too,” Chapdelaine said. All this comes amid an apparent trend toward the “natural look,” a return to wood finishes after years of whitewashed cabinetry. Hardwood flooring is also having a moment, Chapdelaine said, with oak (white and red) proving the most popular because it provides a good balance of durability, color range, and reasonable cost. Luxury vinyl plank is another option. Scruff- and wear-resistant, it’s a great choice for busy households and high-traffic areas. And it’s waterproof, so you can give kitchens and bathrooms an elegant, natural look.

Chapdelaine said granite countertops are re-emerging on the kitchen design scene, but this time in sophisticated shades that can go shoulder-to-shoulder with pricier picks like marble and quartzite. Engineered quartz is currently the number one choice for upgraded counters for a smooth, sleek look.

With the company’s centennial anniversary coming up in 2025, Chapdelaine is already planning how to mark the milestone. “We’re going to do our best to bring back all of our past and present employees, sub-contractors, and vendors for a get-together,” he said. “I’m only as good as the people I surround myself with. We all work together to try to make our clients happy, and I think the centennial is the perfect time to show that appreciation.”

For more information, visit Chapdelaine & Sons online at
chapdelainebuilders.com or 87 Shaker Road,
East Longmeadow, MA. (413) 525-4526.

Rich J. Wirth
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